New Quantum Camera can Take Pictures of “Ghosts”


We are able to capture on camera images of photons, that we could never seen before

You do not need to worry. The prizes for evidence of the paranormal are still in the game. It is because this camera is not capturing the ghosts that you immediately imagine when you hear the word. No wandering souls of our ancestors or something similar. The “ghosts” that we are able to see now are in fact protons, that has never been encountered on the picture before. How physics would say it – this quantum camera is capable of capturing images with two-colored light that never “saw” the object.

The principle of normal camera is that the light bounces back from an object that we take picture of. This is how optics are supposed to work. However, how is it possible to take picture of an object from light if the light never bounced off the object? The answer is quantum entanglement.


These cat cutout pictures were created from light particles that never saw the shape.
Photograpy by Gabriela Barreto Lemos

Entanglement is something, that has been shown to exist between certain particles even if they are separated by vast distances. But how this actually work is still a mystery but it has been proven, that it indeed works.

Quantum camera can take “ghost” pictures by using two separate laser beams that have their photons entangles. Only one beam encounters the object pictured, but the image can nevertheless be generated when either beam strikes the camera.

For the actual experiment, researchers choose stencils of tiny cats and trident. They passed two beams of light through these stencils at different wavelength.The first and the second beam got entangled but the second one never hit the target and was also traveling on the separate line. What is truly amazing is that the second light revealed picture of the objects when a camera was focused on it, even though it has never hit any of these objects. 


This could be the possible solution to improve medical imaging or silicon chip lithography in situations that it is really hard to see. It is exactly due to the different wavelength. For better understanding – the doctors could use this for generating images in visible light even when the images were captured using a different kind of light, for example infrared light.  

Paul Lett, quantum optics expert of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland said: “What they’ve done is a very clever trick. In some ways it is magical. his is a long-standing, really neat experimental idea Now we have to see whether or not it will lead to something practical, or will remain just a clever demonstration of quantum mechanics.” 


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Michaela Miklusak

Michaela Miklusak is deputy editor of and big technology enthusiast. Michaela now lives in Singapore, where she studies System Engineering and Informatics.

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